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Facing change

Tri-State-area women adopt new diets and lifestyles to confront top risks to health

Tri-State-area women adopt new diets and lifestyles to confront top risks to health

February 28, 2005|by Marie Gilbert/Staff Writer

The emotions came in waves, one after another. There was shock, fear and, finally, determination.

Last June, Jessie Hague suffered a heart attack.

But instead of giving up, the 80-year-old Chambersburg, Pa., resident decided she had a lot to live for. So, after five days in the hospital, she returned home prepared to follow doctor's orders and do whatever was necessary to regain her good health.

Today, Hague is watching her weight, eating the right foods and exercising. But most of all, she has a positive outlook - something she said is important on the road to recovery.

Hague is among a growing number of women who have become proactive in her health care. By being informed and responsible, she is doing whatever she can to achieve optimal well-being.

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A retired nurse, Hague believes her medical background might have helped save her life. A recurring pain in her chest area told her she had better go to the hospital.

"It started out as slight pressure while I was at a water aerobics class," she said. "After I went home, it would ease up; but during the night, it kept coming back. I knew it was something I shouldn't ignore."

Hague knows she's one of the lucky ones. According to a study recently completed by the the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., heart disease is the No. 1 health threat for women. It's responsible for more deaths of women - nearly 489,000 annually - than all forms of cancer combined.

Cancer is the second biggest threat to women's health, followed by stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease - a group of chronic lung conditions, including bronchitis and emphysema - Alzheimer's disease and diabetes, according to the study.

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